International Recipes: Moroccan Meatball Tagine
In this instalment of our International Recipes blog series, we travel to North Africa and the country of Morocco. If ever there was a cuisine that exemplified the word ‘fusion’, Morocco’s would be it. Heavily influenced by its connections to Middle Eastern countries, its African neighbour Algeria and it’s French legacies, the food served up is a delightful combination of flavours and aromas. The country has also taken inspiration from many Mediterranean countries and bringing new styles to an already bursting offering.
In this recipe, we focus on the Moroccan classic of the tagine. Named for the heavy-duty earthenware pot in which it is cooked, the dish can include a variety of meat, vegetables and spices. Similar to a stew in both presentation and cooking style, tagines are typically slow-cooked with the steam in the pot rising and condensing on the conical lid, trickling back down into the food.
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For the recipe, you will need:
Three onions, peeled
Zest and juice one unwaxed lemon, quartered
One tsp ground cumin
One tsp ground cinnamon
Pinch cayenne pepper
Small bunch flat-leaf parsley, chopped
500g minced lamb
Two tbsp olive oil
Pinch saffron strands
Thumb-sized piece ginger, peeled and grated
One red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
One tbsp tomato purée
250ml lamb stock
100g pitted black kalamata olive
Small bunch coriander, chopped
Fresh crusty bread, to serve
To get started, take the peeled onions and place them in a food processor to finely chop them, you can also do this by hand if you prefer a larger dice. Next, take the zest of the lemon, the collection of spices, the lamb and the onion in a large mixing bowl and season with salt and pepper. Use your hands and get stuck into the mixture, mixing until everything is combined and can be shaped into walnut-sized balls.
Take the oil and heat this in a flameproof dish or in the tagine pot, with the lid on top. Add the remaining onions, chilli, saffron and ginger. Heat these ingredients for five minutes until the onion has gone limp and has started to gain some colour. To this mix, add the lemon juice, tomato puree, olives and lamb stock and bring the mix to a steady boil. Once the mixture is boiling, add in the meatballs one by one. After all the meatballs have been added, reduce the heat of the dish and cook for 20 minutes and turning the meatballs occasionally.
After the 20 minutes, remove the lid and add the coriander and lemon wedges, arranging them between the meatballs to maximise the flavour. For a further ten minutes, cook the dish without the lid on to thicken the liquid. Serve the meal hot with couscous and with crusty bread.
Along with lots of mouthwatering recipes, our blog is packed with useful info, such as travel tips and guides to our favourite countries. If you try out this aromatic and flavoursome dish, make sure you let us know how you get on! Tweet us or get in touch on Facebook, we’d love to see some photos too!